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The Public Defender I is responsible for conducting legal research, writing legal documents to use in litigation, and representing clients in any forum wherein they are at a risk for a loss of liberty. This position is governed by State and Federal law and agency policy.

Class Code:


Job Grade:


Special Job Requirements:


Typical Functions:

Provides legal representation to all defendants, as required by the courts and the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. Investigates defendant’s case, by locating and interviewing witnesses, in order to obtain information relevant to the defense and sentence of the client. Write briefs, motions, and other pleadings supporting the case arguments to facilitate the litigation process and prepares, tries, and argues routine and some conflicts cases before state court forums. Drafts new or amended legislation or regulations designed to enforce legislative intent. Represents the agency in defendant legal proceedings, including administrative hearings and state and appellate court hearings. Analyzes and interprets state and federal laws to determine impact on agency programs and to advise personnel in appropriate necessary action. Prepares routine and some conflicts pleadings and outlying court papers in connection with the trials, hearings, and other court procedures, prepares, tries, and argues routine and some conflicts cases before state court forums. Conducts routine negotiations with clients, witnesses, and other interested parties in gathering information, council’s clients, and investigates and reviews claims to determine merits or proceedings of the case or complaint. Performs related responsibilities as required or assigned.

Knowledge, Abilities, and Skills:

Knowledge of state and federal laws, regulations, and precedents. Knowledge of legal research and writing techniques. Ability to plan, organize, and direct work of others. Ability to research, analyze, interrupt, and apply legislation and case related information. Ability to effectively and successfully conduct conflict litigation. Ability to prepare, present, and review oral and written information reports.

Minimum Qualifications:

The formal education equivalent of a Juris Doctor degree and at least two years practicing law in the defense of criminal cases or the prosecution of criminal cases. Licensed to practice law by the State of Arkansas by the state board of law examiners. Certified to try up to B felonies pursuant to the certification requirements of the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. Additional requirements determined by the agency for recruiting purposes require review and approval by the Office of Personnel Management. OTHER JOB RELATED EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE MAY BE SUBSTITUTED FOR ALL OR PART OF THESE BASIC REQUIREMENTS, EXCEPT FOR CERTIFICATION OR LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS, UPON APPROVAL OF THE QUALIFICATIONS REVIEW COMMITTEE.

Required Certificates:



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